A dominating performance by Contador (SAX) accompanied the notable ride by Movistar Team in the awaited Sicilian stage of the 2011 Giro d’Italia, finishing atop the Etna vulcano. Pablo Lastras was the virtual maglia rosa for most of the stage, plus David Arroyo and Vasil Kiryienka shone into the favourites’ group at the final ascent, with the crash by Sergio Pardilla, only 300 meters from the finish, being the only negative side for the Blue, which lost thus the leadership in teams’ overall.
The Spaniard went onto the ground in the last turn of the race and had to do the final straight by foot after breaking his bike, when he was only few meters behind the second group of favourites including Rodríguez and Menchov. Up-front, David Arroyo proved to be at an excellent level, responding himselt to the attacks by Nibali (LIQ), the last one short over a kilometer from the line, just after a tifoso unconsciously blew him hard on his head -the rider from Talavera reached the finish with his helmet broken- when the race was on its cenit. The current runner-up of the Giro is already 6th in the overall ranks led by Contador, with Kiryienka in 12th after making his own move within the favourites with two kilometers to go.
Specially remarkable was the work on front by Pablo Lastras, breaking away for almost 100 kilometers with seven others riders until shortly after the 10k banner, in a stage where the Madrilian was the virtual leader for more than three hours’ time. The first rest day of the Giro will take the riders to Termoli, where they will rest at midnight after starting their transfer from Sicily just after today’s stage.
David Arroyo: “We would never have thought Contador to attack from so far and that made good on him. He showed he one, two, even three points ahead of the rest. I’m happy on my side, because I saw that I’m strong enough to be into that second group at the moment. With 1.5 k to go Nibali went over my side, a ‘tifoso’ jumped opposite to us and hit me terribly hard on my head to even break my helmet. Last year, people said I was there because they gave me 12 minutes of advantage, and this year we’re going to demonstrate we can be up-front with no supplementary help. Nibali attacked with 1 kilometer remaining and I’m not explosive enough, I have to accelerate bit by bit and at the end it went good for me, because I could make it with the best. At the moment I see myself able to be with them for all the Giro. The wind was a key today because it was blowing on our heads at some point, then on our tail and that made impossible to build a constant pace. It was a strength climb more than one for real climbers. We shared the work really well with Kiryienka and the team was sensational again, not only us but all teammates in the beginning of the stage, which was really hard, and we were able to make the break with Lastras, who could seek for the leadership and leave us more calm behind.”